Booker Prize-winning West End hit comes to Bath

YANN Martel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Life of Pi, was adapted as a sensational and five times Olivier Award-winning play, which is coming to Bath Theatre Royal, from 22nd to 25th May, direct from the West End, on its first ever UK tour.

After conquering the West End and Broadway, Lolita Chakrabarti’s dazzling production brings jaw-dropping visuals and world-class puppetry to Bath, with the starring role going to an extraordinary life-size, puppeteered Bengal Tiger.

After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, five survivors are stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a 16-year-old boy and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh … who will survive?

Based on one of the best-loved works of fiction, which has sold more than 15 milliocopies worldwide, Life of Pi is an epic story of endurance and hope.

Divesh Subaskaran makes his professional debut in the central role of Pi. He is joined by Goldy Notay as Amma; Ralph Birtwell as Father; Sonya Venugopal as Rani and understudy Pi; Sharita Oomeer and Bhawna Bhawsar as Lulu Chen and Mrs Biology Kumar; Chand Martinez as Pandit-ji, Mamaji and Admiral Balbir Singh; Lilian Tsang as Mrs Okamoto, Zaida Khan and Ship’s Captain; Vinesh Veersami as Russian Sailor; Adwitha Arumugam who alternates the role of Pi; Antony Antunes as Tiger Hind, Cook and Father Martin; Peter Twose as Tiger Head, Cook and Father Martin; Kate Rowsell, Romina Hytten, Aizah Khan and Katie Kennedy-Rose as Tiger Heart and Hind; Akash Heer and Sebastian Goffin as Tiger Head, and Tom Stacy as Tiger Hind and Puppet Captain.

Life of Pi ‘s 2022 Olivier Awards included Best New Play, Best Actor for Hiran Abeysekera (the original Pi), and in an historic first for the Olivier Awards – the seven performers who puppeteer the Tiger were collectively awarded Best Actor in a
Supporting Role. There were also awards for its set (Tim Hatley, Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell) and lighting design (Tim Lutkin and Andrzej Goulding). On Broadway in 2023, the production received five Tony Award nominations and won Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.

The production is directed by Max Webster, an sssociate director at the Donmar Warehouse, whose credits include Henry V at the Donmar, Dr. Seuss: The Lorax for the Old Vic amd Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The extraordinary animals in Life of Pi are brought to life by puppet and movement director Finn Caldwell, who began his career in the original company of the National Theatre’s international phenomenon, War Horse. Finn is the artistic director of his own company Gyre & Gimble, whose credits also include the National Theatre’s productions of The Elephantom, Angels in America and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Photographs by Johan Persson